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Meet Lucy and Zainab!

Hi! We’re Lucy and Zainab, and we are the newest members of the PIE Team!


We are both currently studying at Manchester Metropolitan University and we are now in our 3rd year. We have both decided to do a placement based dissertation with the PIE programme. The programme was offered to us by the MMU Q-Step department as part of an opportunity to gain experience and skills in a working environment. PIE was the ideal placement for us both because our initial understanding is that it’s a programme that encourages disadvantaged students to become future ready. This is important to us because from our own experiences we can understand how success is dependent on more than just school curriculum. With support from Beth, we hope to produce beneficial reports that will give an insight in to the successes and limitations of PIE with the aim of further developing the programme.


More about Zainab!





My name is Zainab Ahmed, I am currently studying a BSC in Criminology and Sociology with Quantitive Methods. In my last year I transferred from my BA to a BSC, with this switch meaning that I would commit to more statistical based work. As part of this change of course I was presented with the opportunity to base my dissertation on a placement.


Before I got accepted with the PIE programme I had to go through a selection process where I had to apply and choose a programme to work alongside with. I was not one to let a unique opportunity to work alongside organisations like PIE pass, especially when they feature individuals like Beth Nunn at the helm; who is included in the WISE 100 list. These are all facts I uncovered when presented with a list of possible organisations that aligned with pathways I would like to pursue. At that point I knew that I had to complete my dissertation based on the work carried out by the PIE organisation. I was immediately drawn to the programme and the work that Beth carries out. My initial understanding of the programme was that it equips children with key life skills to thrive outside the classroom. The program accommodates for children of a wide spectrum of abilities ensuring that all children are given a fair chance to reach they true potential.


The PIE programme caters to disadvantaged students and acts as an intervention by providing core life skills to students. The work that the programme carries out related to me on a more personal level. Coming from a disadvantaged background and area myself, I could immediately understand and relate to the projects aims and the help that they provide to students. Along with this, my own background is heavily incorporated around charity work and helping disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals as I have taken part in the organisation of many fundraising events. Moreover my past experiences have also encouraged me to pick this programme as I have previously helped create a project where our main aim was educating students on the advantages and disadvantages of social media.

Therefore when deciding my dissertation topic and what I wanted to research, I decided to look at the impact that the PIE programmes intervention has on students. Along with finding the successes and limitations of the PIE programme and how useful it is to students. I decided to base my dissertation on pre-collected data from Beth. I would not only be looking at the impact but I will be looking for trends so I am able to see what students benefit in the most.


More about Lucy!




I’m studying Sociology with Quantitative methods, I made the decision to change my course from a BA to a BsC because I am very interested in working with data. What specifically appeals to me about working with quantitative methods is that it synthesises theoretical knowledge with empirical data, allowing a sociological perspective to be applied to real life.

The PIE programme stood out to me on the initial networking day because I feel it is a project I can relate to. I am from a working class, single parent household and whilst I would not consider myself greatly advantaged I am slowly becoming aware of the external factors that may have affected my educational achievement. In an ideal world I would like to believe that everyone is given the same opportunities in life. But, I am also of the opinion that there is a fine line between equality and equity; and there are certain marginalised groups within society that need more help than others. This is why being involved with the PIE programme appeals to me.


Working with Beth we have decided that it would be interesting for me to further investigate the impact that gender has on students own perceptions of life skills. Along with PIE, I will be collecting data that will encourage students to self-evaluate their abilities in 5 areas: organisation, team work, confidence, resilience and motivation. I will endeavour to produce a report that analyses whether there is a gender divide in the impact of the PIE programme and provide an insight into which areas have the greatest impact on males and females.


Additionally, I aim to gain practical skills from my PIE placement. I hope it will provide me with a greater understanding of how to behave in professional work place environment, which I can take onto future employment. I also want to use this opportunity to develop my communication skills, specifically how to act and talk appropriately when working disadvantaged groups and discussing sensitive topics. Finally, I wish to utilise the networking opportunities that working at The Federation provides by attending events that take place here.

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